It's for Dinner

Ratio, brilliant new cookbook by Michael Ruhlman

Tags: cookbook

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking [$16.20] by Michael Ruhlman is a new cooking reference book that will be getting a lot of use in our kitchen. Instead of laying out recipes, Ratio deals in the fundamental building blocks--the ratios between main ingredients. Bread is 5 parts flour, 3 parts water. There are lots of other variables (yeast, salt, fats, kneading, cooking temp, etc), but the fundamental essence of bread is the ratio of flour to water. Ruhlman gives you the ratio and an example recipe with measurements, but also ideas for lots of variation.

Ratio, brilliant new cookbook by Michael Ruhlman

Baking lends itself to ratios than most other disciplines, but the book contains ratios for more than just breads and doughs. The covered ratios are:

Here's an excerpt from the introduction:

Here is another thing knowing a ratio does: it helps you to better understand cooking in general. How does bread differ from fresh pasta? No all that much actually, except that for pasta, egg takes the place of water at a ratio of 3 parts flour and 2 parts egg. What's the difference between bread dough and pie dough? The proportions of flour and water area a little different (3 : 1), but it's the important third ingredient, fat, that makes it pie dough--fat is responsible for making pie dough unlike bread dough, tender rather than chewy.

To get the most out of Ratio, make sure you have a kitchen scale. Most of the recipes use weight measurement and that's hard to duplicate without a proper scale.

Posted on April 13th 2009 and last updated on July 28th 2009